With the foreclosure crisis, you may have noticed a vacant home or two on your block. Rather than see the home free-fall into disrepair, push local officials to take action before the untended house lowers the value of your own home.
Here’s a list of common vacant-home laws, rules, and programs. Call your local elected official’s office to find out what your community has in place and how you can get those laws enforced:
- Special assessments charged to owners of vacant homes to cover the cost of added police and fire protection.
- Mandatory fire, safety, or code inspections of vacant homes.
- Laws forcing a foreclosing lender to maintain vacant homes during the foreclosure process—especially important in states where foreclosure takes a year or more.
- Rules that let your local government make repairs to vacant homes and charge the owner for the work.
- Vacant-home registries listing contact information for owners of vacant properties.
- Housing courts that hear cases filed against owners of vacant homes.
- Programs that transfer vacant homes to community development corporations, housing nonprofits, or government housing agencies.
- Property codes that make owners of vacant homes secure their properties and add exterior lights.